ICB Minutes August 9, 2022 w/recording

by Jane Ahrens

P.O. Box 371, Fishers Island, NY 06390
Email: ficommunityboard@gmail.com

ICB Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Zoom Only

Total Participants: 45

Meeting minutes are posted here once approved at the September 13 meeting.

ICB Representatives: Willard Soper (President/Seasonal), Staley Sednaoui (Vice President/Year-Round), John McGillian (Treasurer/Seasonal), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), George de Menil (Seasonal), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round)

Willard: Minutes of July 12, 2022, meeting approved with one minor correction for clarification.

John McGillian—Financial Report:  Liberty Bank balance is $3,561.34; reflects deposits of $2,685.00 and withdrawals of $1439.34 (payment to ICB secretary) and $267.50 for fund-raising postcard.  PayPal balance is $1,713.70; reflects deposits of $450.00.  Total balance in both accounts is about $5,000.

Willard:  We would like to have a balance of $7 or $8,000 in the accounts; that would cover us for the year.

Willard—IHP Report (for Chris Ingram–Chris is unable to attend the meeting due to an emergency):  The IHP has been very busy—typical summer activity.  There have been a number of Covid cases reported both on the mainland and on Fishers, but not a lot of severity.  Chris does suggest that if you are in large groups, take precautions.  There have been a number of young children that have gotten Covid, and they have ranged from a slight cold to a temperature of 103.

Staley:  I’d like to introduce Rod Rodriguez (photo below).  Rod is the new paramedic on the Island, he has been an EMT/firefighter for 33 years, and a paramedic for 13 years.  Originally from upstate New York, where he began his career, Rod has more recently lived in Pittsburgh.  Rod has three daughters and one grandchild; his youngest daughter, Dallas, 14, will be moving here in time to attend FI School in the fall.

Jane Ahrens—ICB Election/Voting

Jane screen-shared the following document:

ICB 2022 Election Timeline

  • Tuesday, July 12, 5:30 PM ICB Monthly Meeting
  • Wednesday, July 13 ICB Request for Candidates letter sent & published on Fishersislsland.net
  • Friday, July 29, 12:00 PM Candidate Deadline to express interest in running
  • Friday, August 5, 5:00 PM Candidate Bios & Statements due
  • Monday, August 8 Candidate Bios & Statements published on Fishersislsland.net
  • Monday, August 15, 9 AM until Friday, August 19, 5 PM ICB Representative Election online 24/7 and in person at the FICC 9:00-1:00 daily

As in past years, voters (who are not already ICB members) will register as an ICB member with their name and email and self-identify as a Seasonal or Year-Round member; then cast their vote for their corresponding elected ICB Representative.

  • Friday, August 19, after 5 PM, Votes will be counted; Candidates will be notified; ICB elected Board will be notified; Results will be published on Fishersislsland.net and PO Bulletin Board
  • Tuesday, Sep. 13, 5:00 PM Newly elected Board members are announced at the September ICB meeting, and officially take office at the October meeting, which is the Annual Meeting.

     Access ICB Online

  • Find member information, donation button, election info including candidates’ bios, access online voting, monthly minutes, and recordings:

We’re on schedule for the election; candidates’ bios were posted on Monday—thank you to the three of you who stepped forward to run.  The year-round candidates are Linda Mrwoka and April White, and Richard Miller is running for the seasonal slot.  On Monday, August 15th, the election will go live online, accessible 24/7, and in person at the Community Center from 9 to 1, Monday through Friday.  If a voter is not already an ICB member, you can sign up/in when you register to vote.

Elizabeth McCance—Sea Grass Management Coalition:

Elizabeth made a very thorough presentation, reporting on the work and updating the progress the Sea Grass Management Coalition has made to date.  The entire presentation, including several screen-shared photos, is available on fishersisland.net in the video recording of the August 9th ICB meeting.  Further information is available on the Seagrass Management website www.fiseagrass.org  Here are some highlights of Elizabeth’s presentation: 

  • Seagrasses are plants that live in the sea
  • Most of the species in Long Island Sound are the species “eelgrass”
  • One threat to eelgrass is nitrogen runoff, i.e. chemicals used in lawn treatments or sewage treatment plants, etc.
  • Another threat is physical damage—uprooting from anchoring, prop scars, mooring chains…
  • Fishers Island has 24% of all remaining eel grass in Long Island Sound, and 98% of eel grass in NY state waters
  • Eel grass is a wildlife habitat
  • Eel grass provides coastal protection, and eco system services
  • The Mission of the Seagrass Management Coalition is to inform/educate the community about the importance of eel grass and to protect it
  • The number one threat to eel grass is boater activity

Elizabeth:  The Seagrass Management Coalition has a new Project coordinator, Hannah Vagts; questions may be addressed to Hannah directly; her email is fishersislandseagrass@gmail.com

Q—Willard: What is the relationship between the Fishers Island Conservancy and the Seagrass Coalition?

A—Elizabeth:  The Fishers Island Conservancy is one member of the Coalition, as is the Museum, the Big Club, Hay Harbor, Race Rock, the Yacht Club, and other Island organizations.

Jim & Tracy Rutherfurd—L & M Emergency Room Capital Campaign:  The Capital Campaign is to expand and improve the Emergency Room at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, which is the Hospital—part of the Yale New Haven System—that serves Fishers Island.  Yale New Haven is undertaking a major expansion and upgrade of the Emergency Department.  The previous renovation was in 1995, and Fishers Island also supported that initiative.  This $80 million project is going to expand the Emergency Department from 30-something alcoves with curtains to 58 private rooms with doors, an isolation ward, a pediatric ward, a psychiatric ward…upgrading the size, shape, the waiting room and the quality of technology and service that’s available there.  L & M, through the Crisp family, has asked the Fishers Island Community to try and raise at least $5 million toward this project, and, if we’re successful, the Emergency Room Department will again be named after the Fishers Island Community.  Tracy and I have been charged with this task, and, with the help of the Crisp family who have donated $2 million as a matching grant, and with the help of other families such as the McCance family, and a committee that we recently formed, we have raised an additional $2 million,  so we are well on our way to our goal, but we have $1 million to go toward this effort.  We’re going to be reaching out to the rest of the Community imminently, starting an email campaign—actually, Tracy has already started the email—and a snail mail campaign in the fall.  What we would like to see is participation from the entire Community, as this is not just about the big donations from those who can afford it, but we’d like to see widespread participation.  This effort is being done in coordination with the Island Health Project, the FI Fire Department, the Sea Stretcher…all of whom are part of this link that creates the health care system for Fishers Island, and L & M is part of that system.  It’s important to everyone on Fishers Island that the Emergency Room can be as good as it can be, and, hopefully, with the Community’s help, we’ll be able to make that happen.  We thank those who have already donated and would like to see a lot of participation.  Information on the L & M fundraising campaign is in the Fog Horn, and also available on fishersisland.net  We’d like to complete the fund-raising, or at least get the pledges in by the end of this calendar year.

Willard:  Jim, can you please tell us the names of all your Committee members?

Jim: Certainly—

Fishers Island Campaign for L+M Emergency Department Renovation Committee
Tracy and Jim Rutherfurd, Chairs

Jane and Ace Ahrens
Diane and Jim Baker
Heather and David Burnham
Leslie and Kevin Coleman
Missy and Peter Crisp
Catherine and Jeff Edwards
Robin and Brad Gibbs
Kathy and John Harris
Wendy and Ted Henderson

Kathy and Ged Parsons
Susie and Bob Parsons
Isabel and Scott Phillips
Anne and Edmund Redd
Kandi Sanger
Margaret and Glenn Solomon
Emily and Lupo Talamo
Ann and John von Stade
Erik and Casey Waldin
Kelley and Donald Young

Willard:  Thank You. I was speaking with Jeff Edwards, FI Fire Dept Chief, and he is totally engaged in this campaign, and, as FIFD Chief, realizes how important it is to the entire Community.

Further and more detailed information may be found on the website:

Willard to Elizabeth McCance:  I don’t know if West Harbor is an eel grass area, but where people moor on weekends, there are only five permanent moorings; all the rest are anchors.  That might be a factor the Seagrass Coalition might want to deal with.

Staley—Health Insurance: We’ve concluded that there are two ways to solve this problem on Fishers.  One is to form an entity, and have people join that entity and be able to get insurance as members.  The reality of that happening seems slim.  The other avenue we’ve been exploring is to apply for an exemption from NY State for Fishers Island residents to be able to get ACA insurance through the State exchange, but be able to use it in CT.  Last week when the legislators were here we discussed the issue, and they seemed to completely understand our problem and are going to do some work on our behalf.  Gina Scumaci was very helpful in getting the legislators to discuss this with us, and we’re very grateful.  The other thing we learned was that we will probably have to get permission from CT, as well as from NY, that CT will accept the NY insurance if the exemption is granted.  Neither state wants to lose the business/clients from a state exchange.  We need to figure out the data points on how many people out here really need and want insurance.  John: do you want to speak to that?

John:  We’re putting together a questionnaire that we hope to get approved by the IHP and then send to at least all the year-round residents and find out what the situation is.  Charlie Wilmerding has been helpful with advice and putting us in touch with experts in this field, but they need to have some statistics first.  Our geographic location adds a level of difficulty, but we are trying to be optimistic about a solution.

Willard:  Maybe we need to speak to the Island employers and see if they have any workers who would rather live here than commute, but don’t because of insurance.

Willard—Southold Town Board meeting on Fishers August 3:  Willard read the following letter that he had read at the Town Board meeting:

Southold Town Board Meeting

At Fishers Island 8/3/2022

After a two-year hiatus do to Covid, The Island Community Board would like to thank you for once again holding your August meeting here on Fishers Island

The ICB continues to engage the Fishers Island community by acting as a forum that informs the community, identifies challenges and opportunities, and builds consensus.

We are proud of the great teamwork spearheaded by the ICB and our Island Health Project, and embraced by all Island organizations, that kept our island relatively safe during the pandemic.

We take our role as a consensus builder, and consistent voice in communication with the Town Council and Southold managers very seriously

Once again we would like to thank you for the support and enhancements provided to the community during the COVID pandemic period of the past few years. These include:

  • A three way stop sign at the intersection of Oriental and Montauk making pedestrian and bike travel much safer
  • The new sidewalks from the villager center to the grocery store
  • Financial support for the Ferry during COVID
  • Creation of the Neighborhood aide position and the hiring of Beth Cashel
  • The zoning approval for Walsh Park housing project on school property after consensus was achieved between the surrounding homeowners and the organization as to density. The ICB would like to acknowledge the important role that Walsh Park plays in providing housing to our year round community, and acknowledge their recent outreach and communication with the community

As we move out of the pandemic period , the community is focused on infrastructure; housing , health insurance, and cost of living for year round residents, and the potential impact of new  state and local legislation on our small island.

Of specific note regarding safety are the need for better speed control on Whistler Ave ( Road to Ferry), consideration of a 4 way stop sign at Crescent and Central by the ball field ( petitions for both have been circulated ), additional replacement of sidewalks and repair of our roads including the road to our transfer station

On the legislative side, regarding the proposed Peconic Bay Tax for affordable housing and ICB sub committee was formed which held numerous meetings with residents and has presented the town with a draft document. George deMenil and Richard Miller would like to now formally present the final to you now.

George and Richard then made a presentation to the Board on the Peconic Bay Tax, which was the presentation made at last month’s ICB meeting.

Staley:  Re the North Fork Civic Association survey on priorities that was sent out to FI residents, there were 88 responses.  That’s a pretty good number, given our population.  Thanks to everyone who completed the survey.

The next ICB meeting will be on Tuesday, September 13th.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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